And the big winner on the 2nd week is Alex Thomson and Hugo Boss that increase his lead over the 2nd to 120nm, almost beating last night the solo monohull 24 hours record, doing 531.5nm (less 3nm) at an average of 22.1K and they did not even reach the zone where all Vendee Globe records are beaten, on the great southern sea desert.
His boat, Hugo boss is on these wind conditions (medium winds) the fastest boat on the fleet. The designer of almost all the boats that are on the head of the race, Guillaume Verdier, explained why:
He says that even if the hull designs are not very different, each hull and each foils are maximized for a given set of conditions that are selected by the skippers, according with the studies made by their team regarding the more likely conditions they will meet on the race. They try to find the better compromise that allows them to have the overall better performance.
This means that even if the boats and the foils were all designed by Verdier, they are not equal and the foils of Hugo Boss, Alex's boat are the ones that are less good all round but the best ones on the type of conditions they have been meeting, medium conditions.
His foils are bigger, give more lift and therefore the boat is faster on these conditions but on stronger conditions they risk breaking more easily and he has to take them in sooner than the others. It is a long race and it is just at the beginning.
In meantime I have just heard that Alex is going to break the record today since he had already made more miles than what is needed and also that bad luck had come to him:
Just 45m ago he hit a floating object, or animal, in a very violent way. He was going very fast at 24k, trying to sleep, when the boat stopped suddenly and turned around. He has damages on one of the foils but it seems that the boat is structurally sound and not making water. He reduced speed till the sea and wind become more favorable for a full boat and hull inspection.
And the top racers that use foils discovered another problem: As if it was not already difficult living on these rockets for three months, bouncing around and permanently with the sound of the waves reverberating on the carbon hull, now it become much more difficult with the foils at speed making a terrible noise, the kind of noise it is very difficult to endure. Just hear this:
You can follow the race almost in direct on the tracker: http://tracking2016.vendeeglobe.org/gv5ip0/